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What will the 2023 Brewers Line up Bring?


Ubaldo Castillo

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As someone who plays MLB 22 The Show on a daily basis (I know…it’s a problem) I constantly think about how prospects will develop. On that same note, I also think about how those prospects will affect roster decisions and line ups for teams. In this post we will examine position by position the outlook for the 2023 Brewers season. 

Catcher - 
This year we saw the duo of Omar Narvaez and Victor Caratini take care of the Brewers pitching staff. Going into the 2023 season Omar Narvaez is set to become a free agent. This year he earned out $5 million. Will the Brewers attempt to re-sign him? The 2023 free agent catching class is headlined by Willson Contreras who made $9.6 million in 2022 and is set for a raise next season. There is no clear match for match substitution for Omar when comparing salary. I think they end up keeping him on a similar deal as this year. He knows the pitching staff very well and barring injury, performed consistently for the Brew Crew this year.

Victor Caratini is set for arbitration going into 2023. This year he earned a $2 million salary and based on his performance I could see him getting a bump in salary for next season. This is quite possibly the easiest roster decision for the Brewers. A consistent catcher that knows the pitching staff, doesn’t take the biggest cap hit, and can hit the ball with consistency. I think the Brewers pay him what he deserves this year and keep him on the rotation. 

Last but not least, Mario Feliciano. To keep it short…they keep him on next year while continuing to develop and eventually take some days off of Omar and Victor. 

Catcher(s) for 2023 - Omar Narvaez & Victor Caratini

First base - 
Let me start by saying that if you have watched the Brewers then you know Rowdy will start at 1st next year again. 2 more years of arbitration and being one of the top home run hitters on the roster will easily lock you in for another year. He will merit a salary increase but one that will not hurt as he has proven time and time again to be clutch in moments you need a big lefty bat. 

In terms of rotation Keston Hiura is the right answer to a lefty pitcher. While I believe he continues taking that platoon role, I don’t think discussing him in the first base role is a fitting conversation to have. 

I think this is a spot where Milwaukee looks to sign a free agent or potentially try out someone within the system. The 2023 free agency has a lot of big names at 1st base but all of these command big money. I don’t think there is an obvious platoon in free agency that would fit the Brewers need while being subtle on the cap hit. I think 2023 is the year the Brew Crew turns to Zavier Warren as Rowdy’s back up. Standing at 6’1 he is a switch hitter and is at a point in his young career when he does need a few seasons to get up to that major league level. He is a top 20 prospect within the Brewers system and it would do him good to get experience with the club. 

First Base - Rowdy Tellez & Zavier Warren

Second Base - 
At second base the Brewers have to make a tough decision. Do they exercise the third year team option on his contract? If they do, they are committing $10 million at second base for Kolten. He is currently a .255 hitter with 8 home runs and 31 RBI. On the defensive side of the ball he is an all star. The question becomes, do you pay a 15 home run hitter with stellar defense $10 million when you have Keston Hiura in arbitration and Brice Turang in the minors? I think the answer for the Brewers is no. It absolutely breaks my heart to write that, I love the energy Kolton brings to the team and I believe if he was earning less he would easily be a yes for the third year. I think the second base position is one that has depth and very team friendly cap depth at that. For this reason I think the first Brewer that doesn’t make it to 2023 is Kolton Wong. The positive here is that Brice will finally get some major league seasoning and the Brewer fans will see what this top 5 Brewer’s prospect brings to the table. 

Second Base - Keston Hiura & Brice Turang. 

Short Stop - 
Willy Adames, that is all. 

No but seriously, the energy he brought to the Brewers is breathtaking. Sure, he might not hit for average but that is easily overshadowed by the other aspects he brings to the table for the Brew Crew. He is the Brewers energy hitting home runs and throwing 90 mph balls across the diamond. At age 27 he still has 2 more years of arbitration and I think the Brewers would be short sighted not to pay the man what he deserves. This year making $4.6 million, next year should see him taking a pay bump. But with the potential savings from deferring Kolton’s deal, this should be something the Brewers should be happy with. 

This is a position that Luis Urias can play if and when Willy is not in the line up. As it is with most of the infield, Counsell loves to rotate. I think the shortstop position will be lined up with Willy and Wicho for the 2023 season. 

Short Stop - Willy Adames & Luis Urias

Third Base - 
Wicho…that is all again. No but seriously, Willy and Luis on the third base side have been dynamic. The Brewers would be silly to let either of them go. Luis is pre arb and has 3 years of arbitration through 2025. He will command a slightly higher salary next year but it is deserved as he has become pretty dependable at third base. He has made some mistakes but he still is still 25 and has a few years to pull it all together. 

The question becomes who backs him up. This is where I believe the answer is Michael Brosseau. 3 more years of arbitration and a solid platoon player, I think he is a reliable answer for 2nd and 3rd base. He is a solid hitter at the plate and I see no reason why the Brewers would let him go next year. 

Third Base - Luis Urias & Michael Brosseau

Outfield - 
This is where I believe the Brewers will change the most. Let us begin with the simple cases. Andrew Mccutchen has been very solid at the plate and on defense. He is coming up for free agency in 2023. This year he is hitting .253 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. He is dependable and provides a very solid spark to the team. That being said, the farm system is one that is overflowing with outfield prospects that are at the AAA level and pushing for major league time. I think Cutch ends up being a victim of this overflow. While I hope he resigns and stays on the team, it would have to come with a salary cut and reduced time. I remain optimistic he stays but at age 35 it might be a tough sell for the front office to resign him for anything longer term or larger salary.

Hunter Renfroe has arbitration for next year. Hitting .246 with 19 home runs and 44 RBI Hunter has played a big part of this team and I believe he will be brought back for next season. Tyrone Taylor is another player that has performed very consistently. Hitting .225 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI is promising. Having 3 more years of arbitration is a selling point for this front office. I think Hunter and Tyrone are two outfield players that stay for the 2023 year. Yelich is a simple one, long contract, no move clause, performing okay. Yelich is staying put in Milwaukee for a long time. 

Now we get to the players that the farm system will provide. The trio of Sal Frelick, Joey Wiemer, and Garrett Mitchell will be added to the rotation next year. Whenever Tyrone or Hunter need a day off these are the players that will take that spot. The best hitter out of the three is Frelick currently hitting .395 at AAA he has proven in a short time that he can hit. Not far behind is Mitchell, hitting .324 at AAA he is one good game away from catching up to Frelick. Joey Wiemer has been taking a bit longer but with the rest of the year and with spring training, I believe he will eventually make the cut for the major league team. 

It will be tough to put together just three that will play so I will put down 5 as a rotation. I believe the everyday players will be Hunter Renfroe and Tyrone Taylor. The more consistent new face will be Sal Frelick. Weimer and Mitchell will platoon. 

Outfield - Tyrone Taylor, Hunter Renfroe, Sal Frelick, Christian Yelich, Joey Weimer, and Garrett Mitchell.

Predicted Lineup for 2023

  1. Christian Yelich - L - (Designated Hitter)

  2. Keston Huira - R-  (Second Base)

  3. Willy Adames - R- (Short Stop)

  4. Rowdy Tellez - L -  (First Base)

  5. Hunter Renfroe - R - (Right Field)

  6. Sal Frelick - L - (Left Field)

  7. Tyrone Taylor - R - (Center Field) 

  8. Luis Urias - R - (Third Base) 

  9. Omar Narvaez - L - (Catcher)

Bench

  1. Zavier Warren - S - First Base

  2. Michael Brosseau - Right - Infield

  3. Victor Caratini - S - Catcher 

  4. Brice Turang - L - Infield

  5. Garrett Mitchell/Joey Weimer - Outfield 

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Mostly agree with how the lineup is going to look like. I think we're going to see another player added via trade/free agency(maybe someone like Mitch Haniger for a year at ~8-10M coming off an injury plagued season)...but I do think you're jumping the gun in a few places here with regard to prospects. 

1B-I don't think Warren is really all that close. He's been hitting the ball well recently, but he's in HiA and slashing .222/.299/.384
Really like the upside, but I don't see him in the plans for 2023.

2B I could see Hiura getting more time there than this year and Wong's option declined. Jace maybe starting the season there(or at 3rd with Urias at 2nd) and then a couple months in Turang taking over. 

C-I don't know if Omar comes back. Maybe if he's back cheap, but catching is in pretty high demand right now. I think we're going to go with Caratini and Severino as their catchers next year. Good defense, a switch hitter and a lefty, both cheap and cost controlled. But hey, maybe we do get Omar back for a year at 5M. We could jump at that. 

OF-I think Frelick's the CFer as soon as he's called up and Taylor moves over to LF. And beyond that I think Mitchell and Weimer will be in AAA next year until they force the issue or we have injuries. They need and....will likely get 25 PAs a week. Same with Ruiz. And in that scenario you'd imagine Weimer would be RF, Mitchell and Ruiz rotating between CF(maybe Ruiz plays some 2nd). 

 

The one NEAR certainty I can predict...Brewers fans will be mad when we don't sign Trea Turner or Aaron Judge. They MAY be understanding when we pass on giving deGrom a 4/160M dollar deal, but that's 50/50.


 

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Hi there! 

Guilty as charged...I wrote this with a positive outlook on these prospects so maybe a bit optimistic from my end. 

Warren of course is still in the low levels but I found it difficult to see the Brewers front office spending big on a platoon. I agree, I hope they do get some help. I am not sure if it is through free agency. For that 10 ish million range they could go out and get someone like Trey Mancini or Miguel Sano who are on expiring contracts. 

 

You are right, catchers are the hot commodity. That being said, I still think he comes back for a similar deal. Willson Contreras, Christian Vazquez, and Roberto Perez deals will dictate how much Omar can ask for and ultimately get. 

 

Before I end this response I would just like to say, thank you for reading and responding! I always enjoy interacting with other Brew Crew faithful. 

 

Okay...I would love to know your free agency predictions. Here are mine:

 

I think they take the savings from this year to go out and Pay Carlos Rodon and a bold prediction...pay Willson Contreras. A rotation of Burnes, Woody, Rodon, Peralta, Ashby.

 

Excited to see what you have to say!

 

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I don't think you're overly optimistic on the prospects...other than Warren. I just think he'll take at least another year, but the bigger issue, I just don't think you'll see Mitchell/Weimer on the bench. Leave them in the minors in 

Rondon and Contreras...that's pretty bold!

I've seen Contreras wants 5/100...and that'd be a pretty reasonable contract to be honest. Problem is, you look at the best teams and so many of them need catching help BADLY. But I'd be all for that. I suspect Contreras will end up getting closer to 25M a year, so 5/125 

Rondon, eh...it's bold! I'll give ya that. I think, baring a late season shoulder fatigue, he's on pace for a maybe 5/140 type deal. I'd really rather just give that to Woodruff(or Burnes, but I don't think he takes that). Rodon is absolutely filthy...and I like how his fastball velo actually ticks UP during the games. It'd be interesting. The problem I have is you're taking Lauer out of that rotation...and Houser. And those are pretty good pitchers. 



My FA predictions are nothing special. I just said in another thread, maybe a Wily Peralta reunion now that he's seemed to figure it out a bit. A "big" signing would be a Jose Abreu. The CHW have Andrew Vaughn in house as a replacement, Jimenez is not a very good OFer, so you could just simply move Vaughn to 1st, Elroy to DH and move on. Meanwhile, we tried to sign Abreu when he came to the States. 

Josh Bell I think will get a 4/65 type deal, maybe 5/90. Somewhere in that range.

Abreu on the other hand is 36 and maybe 2/30 gets it done? If he wants to stay close to Chicago, it'd make sense. 

 

That's about as wild as I'd go in free agency though. I think Abreu still has a couple productive years left. We'll likely let Wong leave, Cain's off the books, as is McCutchen, but that'll mostly go to arbitration raises. I can see the payroll getting pushed as high as 150...maybe. But not on long term deals. Rowdy/Abreu/Hiura handling 1B/DH most days, Turang at 2B, Frelick in CF and then Yelich/Renfroe in the corner OF spots with Taylor as the 4th OFer and Mitchell/Weimere/Ruiz waiting to prove themselves would be a nice upgrade. 

 

Jurickson Profar, Mitch Haniger, Drury, these are the types of guys I could also see them targeting, but on short deals. And outside of Haniger, I suspect the other two will price themselves out of Milwaukee. I think the most likely scenario would see the Brewers take a package of Ruiz/Small+ for a younger impact player. A corner IFer(3B preferably) or just a good bat.

 

I'm more curious to see if David Stearns is the POBO after this season. How I'd LOVE to see a press release that says the Brewers have signed DS to an extension through 2026! I'm still pretty confident in what Matt Arnold provides as he'd almost certainly be elevated to that role, but I don't love the idea of the people Stearns would take with him. There'd be a significant brain drain and THAT is troubling. But again, the infrastructure he's left in place will make me appreciate of his time in Milwaukee in either event. 

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2023 is an opportunity to really change this lineup from a long ball centric team that struggles with consistency  to a more ball in play put pressure on the defense type. Mitchell,  frelick,  Turang, and Chourios (Already in AA) all have that ability. I like keeping rowdy and Renfroe to bring the pop. I know everyone loves Adames, but he has got to do better than hit .230. 

By going young and cheap the have an outside shot of resigning 1 or both of Burnes and Woody.

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